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Tim Mara, Cardboard Box 1, 1995-96
Tim Mara Artist's Alphabet

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back to the alphabet grid For this section of the Artist's alphabet you are presented with visual information which aims to highlight to you Tim's consistent and repeated interest in the use of certain types of objects and, in doing so, show you the cyclical nature of his work;

Throughout his career he was interested in both archetypal and stereotypical objects which he often described as 'classic' or even 'ordinary'. In his selection of objects Tim aimed to explore the look and feel of unusual and contrasting materials especially those which were man-made, either unique or mass-produced. He was particularly interested in mirrored, metallic, reflective and transparent objects and the problems in successfully representing and depicting these. Objects of this nature frequently appear in all periods of his work and are subjected to a close scrutiny and dissection. Tim saw this analysis as a very real investigation, (unaffected, by nostalgia, camp kitsch sentimentality or object fetishism), which sought to reveal absolute facts about the objects themselves focusing on their anonymous or typical qualities. The chosen objects he believed belonged to all of us and are not designer objects where the designer should take credit for it, but objects which have been refined by generations of use. Tim envisaged searching for their definitive representation and in doing so revealing the essence of the object.

These everyday sometimes ordinary objects were transformed via his skill and technical mastery and approach to scale into beautifully iconic artworks with an incredibly imposing presence.

In the following visual exercise you are presented with print works which highlight his use and choice of objects, and are asked in viewing them to consider various questions:

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  • What similarities can you see in the Artist's choice of objects?
  • What do the objects depicted in the various periods of the Artist's work reveal about the three decades in which he worked?
  • How do you think the Artist's interest in objects changed throughout his career?
  • It has been suggested that the Artist's choice of objects reveal aspects of his own personality and characteristics. Do you agree with this?
  • Is the Artist's choice of object an objective decision or a subjective one?
  • What materials are the objects made of?
  • Why do you think the Artist was interested in these materials and which different techniques has he used to interpret their qualities?
  • Why do you think the Artist depicts pairs or isolated objects in his later works?

  • How has this developed from his use of objects in the earlier pieces and how does this affect the meaning and our understanding of them?
  • Are there objects in your life which you are interested in? Are they different from the Artist's interests and how could you use them to create an artwork?
  • What different processes, techniques and mediums could you use to depict them?
  • What do you think is meant by 'the cyclical nature' of the Artist's work?
  • What consistent themes and repeated investigations occur in the Artist's work? Do you agree that the work is cyclical or do you feel there are a very separate series of questions and concerns involved in the work?
  • What do you think the Artist's intentions were using objects? Do you for instance think they are used as a replacement for actual human beings? Are the works that include only inanimate objects still figurative?
  • (The list of suggested questions above is by no means exhaustive but intended as a launch pad for your researches; repeated viewing of the morphing objects will hopefully reveal aspects of inquiry you have not previously considered and questions related directly to your individual interests).

    © Text: Mark Hampson / Images: Belinda Mara
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